Federal Relief Funds Arriving for Most Practices
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the immediate disbursement of the first $30 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
You may recall OSMA sent information earlier this week about our advocacy related to the distribution of these funds. While the distribution of funds that was ultimately implemented is slightly different than what we recommended, we are pleased that it builds upon the principles suggested by OSMA, AMA, and other medical organizations.
This initial $30 billion is being directed to hospitals and physician practices in direct proportion to their share of Medicare fee-for-service spending. Total Medicare billing last year was $484 billion. An example of the formula is as follows:
- A community hospital billed Medicare FFS $121 million in 2019.
To determine how much they would receive, use this equation:
$121,000,000/$484,000,000,000 x $30,000,000,000 = $7,500,000
All facilities and health professionals that billed Medicare FFS in 2019 are eligible for the funds. These are relief payments—they are NOT advances or loans and do not have to be repaid. The funds will go to each organization's TIN which normally receives Medicare payments. The automatic payments will come to the organizations via Optum Bank with "HHSPAYMENT" as the payment description.
*Clearly, this formula and payment doesn’t help those who may have no or few Medicare claims but rely significantly on Medicaid funding. CMS and administrator Verma have indicated that a subsequent distribution from the Emergency Fund will be directed to pediatricians, children's hospitals, and others who rely on Medicaid.
We have heard that a number of practices have already received payments as of this morning. This is important news for physicians, hospitals and practices across the state as we collectively deal with the impact of COVID-19.